Everton 2 Cardiff City 1 match report: Last-gasp Seamus Coleman slice leaves Cardiff in real relegation trouble

 

Goodison Park

The score was 2-1, the winner is scored in the last breath of stoppage time, a great stadium erupts. It is a scenario that will forever bring a smile to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s boyish face. Now, it was grim and impassive.

This was not a match that decided a European Cup, but it may go some way to deciding whether Cardiff survive in the Premier League. Sir Alex Ferguson, Solskjaer’s mentor, has a mantra that teams in the relegation zone average a point per game in the last quarter of the season. Since Everton had won every match at Goodison Park since Boxing Day, this would have been a precious one to take back to south Wales and until the last minute of stoppage time they had it.

“We could have had three,” said Solskjaer. “It was a stonewall penalty for Wilf Zaha. He went through two or three challenges and it was Sylvain Distin who tripped him. It’s a cert.

“David Marshall has been outstanding in goal for us all season. He was beaten twice here; once by a deflection, the other by a mis-hit. We can talk about it all day long but I am sitting here with no points and we need points.”

The goal that decided this game was not even a particularly good one; a sliced, mistimed volley from Seamus Coleman that deceived everyone, including the excellent Marshall.

To list Marshall’s saves, the best of which was an instinctive tip over the bar from Romelu Lukaku in the first half, would be to suggest that Everton pummelled Cardiff, which was not quite the case. At times, they still appeared hungover from the defeat at Arsenal in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with passing ropey enough to suggest they had been drinking cheap whisky for a week.

Roberto Martinez and Solskjaer have been friends since the days they and Jordi Cruyff lived in Manchester and went to each others’ houses to talk football. Naturally, the Everton manager was generous in his assessment of Cardiff, praising Solskjaer’s tactical flexibility and the spirit shown by his players.

“We may have deserved the points but Cardiff deserve a lot of credit,” he said. “We lost in the 92nd minute at Chelsea so I know exactly how Ole feels.” Martinez did not try to argue against the penalty for the foul on Zaha, adding that the referee, Roger East, had made some “interesting decisions”.

Among them was the one not to dismiss Kévin Théophile-Catherine for a wild challenge on Gareth Barry in the first half. The one thing that might have saved the Frenchman was that, although the challenge was reckless, it was not high.

Three defeats in London at Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal may have stalled Everton’s season but they have responded to each one with a win, although each has been  rather more laboured than the last.

Frustration was already crackling around Goodison when Everton broke through. Given his talent and understandable arrogance, playing alongside Gerard Deulofeu may not be as rewarding as watching him. The young Catalan shimmered as he cut inside Gary Medel and only he would know whether he intended to shoot or cross. Whatever it was, the ball struck Steven Caulker’s leg and left Marshall helpless.

Earlier in the season that would have been that but there is a weariness about this small Everton squad and they conceded a very tired goal when Juan Cala attempted to control Peter Whittingham’s free-kick and saw the ball strike his stubbled chin before it struck the net.

This time Everton did respond with some sustained pressure. Marshall saved once more from Lukaku and when the board went up indicating four minutes of stoppage time, they seemed to have earned their point. It proved as temporary as the Bayern Munich ribbons that were attached to the European Cup when Solskjaer struck.

Everton (4-2-3-1): Howard; Coleman, Stones, Distin, Baines; McCarthy, Barry; Deulofeu (McGeady, 61), Osman (Barkley, 82), Mirallas (Naismith, 61); Lukaku.

Cardiff City (5-3-2): Marshall; Da Silva (Zaha, 79), Caulker, Cala, Théophile-Catherine, John; Kim, Medel, Mutch (Whittingham, 57); Noone (Daelhi, 61), Campbell.

Referee: Roger East.

Man of the match: David Marshall (Cardiff)

Match rating: 6/10

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future